As I left the office, the secretary looked up briefly, just long enough to check my vital signs before returning to his work, apparantly bored.
Ignoring this uncaring attitude, I proceeded to the door, my shoes making soft squeaks across the floor as I tried to remain calm. Part of me felt an extreme urgency, and it was this side of my mind that was running around in circles like a dog chasing a merry-go-round. Incidentally, the other part of me, the part that had already given up, was stuck on the merry-go-round trying to shrug off the fact that the world was spinning.
My task was hopeless. It would be best to not even try--take a short-cut to failure and get on with the task of covering my tracks. Did he realize what he was really asking of me? The creator of 'lol' could be any one of ten thousand teenage girls. And I wasn't even sure of that. Hadn't 'lol' been around since the first makings of the Internet? I wouldn't even be surprised if it was in the source code for the first web page.
But, just as this thought was running through my mind, as I was walking swiftly through the doorway, my foot hooked on something, and I tripped, stumbling across the hallway into the far wall. Regaining my balance, I turned to see the man who'd gone before me, sprawled out on the ground. Apparantly, he had managed to transport himself through the doorway before taking a rest.
"Don't mind me!" the man croaked. "I'm just a pathetic simpleton with the mind of an automaton!"
I helped him to his feet regardless, and then asked, "What happened to you?"
"I had my jetterolly ripped out," he said, straightening his tie.
"Pardon?" I asked. "Your what ripped out?"
"My jetterolly," he repeated. "That's what I named my invention. But now, thanks to the Pope, it's name has been changed. Now, even I have to call it trash."
"Trash?" I asked. "How could the Pope say it was trash? He wouldn't use such a word unless it was literal."
"And it was literal after he'd finished stomping on it!" cried the man.
"Oh," I said. I gave the man a hopeless look, one which he returned one hundred percent. I nodded once and then said, "Well, good luck."
I strode swiftly down the hall, but I hadn't gone far before the man was jittering beside me, as if he had not just been lying at the foot of the door moments before. "So!" he said with enthusiasm, "What were you in for?"
I stopped. "The Vocabulary Pope has given me a very important task," I said.
The man widened his eyes. "You work for the Vocabulary Pope?"
"Doesn't everyone?" I asked. "If he asked you to hunt down the maker of a word, you'd have to do it, otherwise he'd revoke your right to speak certain words."
The man stared. "I've never had the terror of being asked something like that," he admitted. "Would he really revoke your right to speak certain words? And what kind of words?"
"Imagine not being able to use the word 'the'."
The man gave a disgusted look of horror. "Ooo," he said.
"Ooo?" I asked.
The man slapped a hand to his mouth. "That's a valid onomatapaiea, isn't it?"
"I can't remember. Why don't you go ask the Vocabulary Pope?"
The man nearly passed out. I was hopping he'd at least stop following me.
"So what word's origin are you seeking?" he asked.
I glared at him and then sighed. Hoping this would be the final sentence to scare the man off, I spoke in a long, slow voice full of suspense and menace.
To my surprise, the man did not seem shocked. Instead, after a moment of silence, he began to utter a most painfully ironic sound. The man began to laugh. He laughed and laughed. And he most certainly laughed out loud. He positively lol'ed all over me.